Home to the original safari
From the rocky slopes of Mount Kenya to the vast open plains; Kenya offers a varied safari experience. In the Maasai Mara, the Great Migration crosses the Mara River into Kenya – from July to October – in search of rain-fed grass. Unique Grevy’s zebra are found in the north while endangered rhino and elusive wild dog populations inhabit Laikipia.
HIGHLIGHTS IN KENYA
Our ‘not to be missed’ recommendations for your holiday
THE GREAT MIGRATION
There’s no country more tied to the safari lore than Kenya. Home to the original safari, its rebirth in recent years among the small personalized safari circuit, has resulted in top experiences in arguably the most densely populated wildlife region on earth.
You will see the East Africa of the mind’s eye: single acacia trees on the sunset horizon, lone Maasai herding cattle, elephants with Kilimanjaro as a backdrop, huge herds of wildebeest and zebra, tremendous populations of big cats. From mid July to October, the migration is usually concentrated in the Mara River area. At other times of the year, the migration won’t be as concentrated, but there is still plenty of game in the Maasai Mara – we will advise the most appropriate locations to visit.
Watching the wildebeest migration cross the Mara river truly is a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ experience.
The perfect place to end your safari; long white palm-fringed sandy beaches and mangrove-lined creeks edge along the warm, tropical waters of the Indian Ocean.
The historic Lamu archipelago includes the main island of Lamu, and Manda. Further south, the coastal resort of Watamu consists of a small peninsula stretched along a coastline of coral outcrops. Diani Beach is perhaps the best beach in Kenya with sandbars in the lagoon that are exposed at low tide for excursions in dugouts or glass-bottomed boats. There is an array of water-based activities on offer in Diani, however this area is quite popular and most hotels are somewhat mass market. We can advise you on how to create an intimate lodge experience in this otherwise busy resort town.
Long white palm-fringed sandy beaches and mangrove-lined creeks edge along the warm, tropical waters of the Indian Ocean.
One of the most popular reserves in the whole of Africa, situated in the Great Rift Valley; a fault line some 5,600km (3,500 miles) long. Its iconic open savannahs, phenomenal game viewing, the famous annual Wildebeest Migration (usually from August to October) and, of course, the romance inspired by films like ‘Out of Africa’, make the reserve a huge draw for visitors to East Africa.
Home to the Maasai people, who have a proud heritage that they maintain to this day. With their distinctive customs and dress, they are amongst the most well-known of all African tribal cultures.
Kenya is home to the original safari.
More things to do and see
To be on horseback in the bush is to feel as if you are one of the animals, walking (or galloping) through the African bush is not just for advanced riders. There are opportunities – even for those never on a horse before – to feel the giant size of a giraffe as you approach on horseback. It is breathtaking, and special.
For those passionate equestrians with at least intermediate level experience, a few destinations offer multi-day rides covering great distance and with close encounters of all kinds. The remote concessions just outside the parks are ideal for horse riding as they offer large open spaces and safe game viewing.
LOCAL CULTURE: ICONIC MAASAI & SAMBURU
Kenya is home to the Maasai people, who have a proud heritage that they maintain to this day. With their distinctive customs and dress, they are amongst the most well-known of all African tribal cultures. For the more active traveler, climb the mountain called ‘Ol Donyo Wuas’ with Kane, a legend of his generation. You will get lost in the lore of the Maasai, telling stories of warrior hood and the move to conservation.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN NAIROBI?
The country’s capital; a bustling city and major gateway to East Africa. Many of the flights into Nairobi arrive in the evening, so chances are your Kenyan safari starts here. An important thing to note is that traffic can be extremely hectic – we will of course advise you on how to avoid any delays during your trip.
With plenty accommodation and attractions, including Nairobi National Park – the only park in the world which is surrounded on all sides by a sprawling city. The Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage and Giraffe Centre provide unique attractions for day stays or visit the Karen Blixen Museum (of ‘Out of Africa’ fame).
WHERE TO GO IN KENYA
A selection of unforgettable places to visit
The quintessential Kenya experience and one of the most famous and popular wildlife destinations in Africa.
Now one of the largest cities in East Africa, Nairobi forms a hub for many East African destinations and serves as the starting point for all safaris in Kenya.
A huge tract of wilderness, running from Mount Kenya and Samburu in the east to the Great Rift Valley in the west.
Famous for the best views of the iconic Mount Kilimanjaro and its large elephant herds.
The gateway to the Northern Frontier, and where the expression “miles and miles of Africa” must have originated.
One of the lesser-visited parks in Kenya, rugged and remote and off the beaten track. The former home of George and Joy Adamson and Elsa the lioness of ‘Born Free’ fame.
Pristine palm-fringed white sandy beaches edging the warm tropical waters of the Indian Ocean.
The private concessions surrounding the Maasai Mara are really some of the best places to stay as you can experience exciting walking safaris and night game drives, as well as try the adventurous 'fly camping'!
Kenya’s largest national park is made up of two separate parks. The slightly larger Tsavo East is generally flat, with dry plains across which the Galana River flows. Tsavo West is more mountainous and wetter with swamps.
Where to stay in Kenya
Some of our preferred safari camps & lodges
Loisaba Tented Camp
Mara Naboisho Conservancy, Kenya
Ol Pejeta Bush Camp
The Majlis Hotel
The Ocean Spa Lodge
Loisaba Tented Camp
Situated in the northern parts of the Laikipia Plateau, Loisaba is a well-known safari destination and is great for families and couples alike. Perched high up on an escarpment, the main camp boasts 9 tents (6 double/twin tents and 3 family tents). In addition to game drives, an abundance of activities area available to keep the kids entertained – fishing, camel treks, horse riding, mountain biking and more!
The area offers excellent all-round game viewing, with good sightings of leopard, wild dog and leopard. The star-beds have been famous at Loisaba for many years and with good reason: an amazing experience!
Mara Naboisho Conservancy, Kenya
Situated in the Mara Naboisho Conservancy; a 50,000 acre conservancy bordering the Maasai Mara to the north and Olare Orok Conservancy to the east, this tented camp offers guests the chance to explore this diverse wilderness in a more intimate way. Unrestricted by park regulations, the range of activities are amongst the best in the region. The camp offers 9 spacious traditional tents that include comfortable beds and a tented safari bathroom that includes a flush toilet, sink and safari shower. The food is delicious and the hospitality makes you feel right at home.
The camp provides an active role in protecting the conservancy, and allows for a wide range of great activities along with traditional game driving; off road game drives (very rare in the eco-system), night game drives to witness the nocturnal animal activity, hot air ballooning, cultural visits and the chance to do walking safaris for up to 5 hours (adults over 16 years only). Or go fly camping and spend the night in a simple ‘fly camp’ in a quiet corner of the conservancy and enjoy splendid meals cooked over the campfire with only the sounds of the bush for company…
Lewa House is located on top of a hill with a beautiful panoramic view of the rolling landscape of the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. With the horizon rising to the eye-catching views of the Matthews Range and Ol Lolokwe, the sacred mountain of the Samburu tribe resident in the area.
During your stay, you can choose between three different accommodation options – the Main House, Family Cottages, or the newly built Earth Pods. Each option has its perks, and we will help guide your choice to ensure a comfortable stay. In addition to day and night game drives, guests have the opportunity to horse back ride, go on guided bush walks, view game from secluded blinds, and visit the Maasai cultural boma.
Giraffe Manor is situated only 20 kilometres outside of Nairobi city centre, with sprawling acres of beautiful gardens and surrounded by indigenous forest. The manor house was built in the 1930s, adding an element of history and charm to this place.
But the most charming bit of all is the giraffes wandering lazily through its twelve verdant acres – even popping their heads through the dining room window at breakfast – a unique experience for a safari traveller! This is a very high end option, and we find it better for those with time to spend two nights enjoying the lodge.
Ol Pejeta Bush Camp
This tented camp is set along the river bank on the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in the south of the Laikipia region in Kenya. Low key East African authenticity is the hallmark of this camp, and the 6 tented suites are comfortable and full of character.
The conservancy is a great example of sustainable conservation benefitting both local communities and wildlife. The conservancy prides itself on the safeguarding of vulnerable species and is the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa. Ol Pejeta guarantees a wonderfully varied safari adventure in this remarkable corner of Kenya and deep insight into the future of conservation.
The Majlis Hotel
Situated on Manda Island in the Lamu archipelago, off Kenya’s Northern Coast, this privately owned luxury beach hotel offers a perfect blend of traditional Swahili culture, Western comforts and luxury. The superb beachfront location and breathtaking views over the bay and Lamu Island make the perfect setting and ideal accommodation for some barefoot luxury and informal pampering.
The Majlis offers 25 deluxe rooms and suites, with verandahs that open out to sun-drenched beaches. The spacious rooms are all decorated in timelessly elegant Lamu style, and are all well-appointed and fully air-conditioned. The facilities at this boutique hotel include two bars, two swimming pools and the Majlis restaurant where you can experience the finest cuisine while enjoying a panoramic view of the bay.
The Ocean Spa Lodge
Located on Kenya’s secluded south coast on the unspoilt Msambweni beach. Each suite has a beautiful bedroom with a lounge area, private gardens and verandah. All are en-suite and have air-conditioning, and some suites are specifically designed for families or groups of friends. The seclusion of the island makes it popular with families and honeymooners alike.
There is a large infinity pool, jacuzzi and six kilometers of pristine beach to explore. Guests can also enjoy snorkelling and diving on the local reef or off Wasini Island, as well as deep sea fishing and cultural visits to the local villages. The spa at The Ocean Spa Lodge is the first thalasso therapy spa of its kind in East Africa, using the Indian Ocean seawater for its healing properties.
Game drives, walking safaris, sundowners and bush meals all take place both inside the Amboseli National Park and within a private 30,000 acre game concession, offering fantastic opportunities for wildlife photography.
The tents at Tortilis Camp are all spacious, with king or twin beds and elegant en-suite bathrooms. There is a main lounge, bar and dining area, all exquisitely built with natural materials and thatched roofs, with magnificent views of Mount Kilimanjaro.